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Controlling where the player starts a mission


grayman
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I want to present a screen at the end of the mission briefing that lets the player choose one of several starting points.

 

I don't know of any missions that do this.

 

Before I begin investigating how to make that happen, I wonder if anyone already has this working. I'm particularly interested in how to pass the result of a custom button press to the mission script. I couldn't find any clues in the Wiki.

 

(I'm not interested in changing the starting point using the Difficulty settings.)

 

Thanks.

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You might be able to use a variation of Stumpy's "info_player_teleport" method at the bottom of this wiki:

 

http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Teleport

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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Perhaps a custom "Shop Item" (if that's possible)?

 

(Edit: yes, the wiki seems to imply so... http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Shop )

 

 

Can the script interface detect shop item inventory?

 

(Edit: Thus far... you can detect the "use" of an item? http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Signals )

Edited by nbohr1more

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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If you're creating a custom briefing gui then maybe one these script events would give you the player's selection so you could then teleport the player to a start point from script:

scriptEvent string getGuiString( float handle, string key );

scriptEvent float getGuiFloat( float handle, string key );

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Perhaps a custom "Shop Item" (if that's possible)?

 

That's a good thought. At the shop, you can buy one of three keys, as long as the entrance points are all keyed. Wouldn't work if you were sneaking over a wall. Maybe you could buy one of three maps, each showing you a different way in. That would work well with another mission I have in mind down the road. For the current mission, I'm interested in having the choice made at the end of the briefing, before you get to Objectives or the shop. Plus, this mission won't have a shop.

 

Thanks.

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If you're creating a custom briefing gui then maybe one these script events would give you the player's selection so you could then teleport the player to a start point from script:

scriptEvent string getGuiString( float handle, string key );

scriptEvent float getGuiFloat( float handle, string key );

 

Okay, that sounds like a good approach. I'll check that out. Thanks.

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I have this working now.

 

The player selects a starting point during the briefing and that's where they start.

 

This involves SDK support, so it won't be available until 1.08.

 

No additions needed in your custom mission script. You will need to modify your briefing (obviously). I'll put instructions somewhere in the Wiki.

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I have this working now.

 

The player selects a starting point during the briefing and that's where they start.

 

This involves SDK support, so it won't be available until 1.08.

 

No additions needed in your custom mission script. You will need to modify your briefing (obviously). I'll put instructions somewhere in the Wiki.

 

great news grayman. Different start point results in different event flows. A good approach to make a fm replayable. Thanks!

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Man I loved how the SWAT games let you pick different entrance points... Didn't we have a thread on this a while back? It would be great to have it integral to the SDK rather than as something a mapper has to jury rig.

"No proposition Euclid wrote,

No formulae the text-books know,

Will turn the bullet from your coat,

Or ward the tulwar's downward blow

Strike hard who cares—shoot straight who can—

The odds are on the cheaper man."

 

From 'Arithmetic on the Frontier' by Rudyard Kipling

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Man I loved how the SWAT games let you pick different entrance points... Didn't we have a thread on this a while back? It would be great to have it integral to the SDK rather than as something a mapper has to jury rig.

 

And if the mapper needs to do nothing, how does the game tell you where you can start?

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And if the mapper needs to do nothing, how does the game tell you where you can start?

 

I think you're misinterpreting me - in the old topic people were coming up with things like a starting room with three doorways you walked into and teleported - which broke the immersion.

 

If you can choose the starting location in the briefing - I mean that would be better.

"No proposition Euclid wrote,

No formulae the text-books know,

Will turn the bullet from your coat,

Or ward the tulwar's downward blow

Strike hard who cares—shoot straight who can—

The odds are on the cheaper man."

 

From 'Arithmetic on the Frontier' by Rudyard Kipling

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's a sample of what a mission author could put in their briefing text, starting with TDM 1.08:

 

post-3633-0-44999900-1322841720_thumb.jpg

 

Here are the rules (so far):

 

1 - You can have any number of selections, and you should have a matching number of player starts in your map.

 

2 - The player can make a selection by clicking on the text.

 

3 - They can change their mind any time before ending the briefing, though they can't deselect a selection. Just pick a different one

 

4 - If they don't select anything, or the briefing doesn't offer a selection (existing missions) the game determines the starting point in the usual manner (whichever starting point has the lowest entity number).

 

5 - This method doesn't rely on teleportation.

 

I haven't worked out any rules for the case where an author wants to also select a starting point using the difficulty level. Making the two methods compatible would probably require a naming convention for player starts.

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I like the possibilities this opens up. :wub:

 

However, I am not sure it is a good idea to let the player make a choice where he has no data to go on which choice is better/best. Always hate it if the game asks me to decide something and I haveno idea what the consequences are. Is option A, B or C better or worse? Harder to play, or will it seal areas that I can no longer reach unless I replay the mission? etc. (And a lot of people don't replay missions, so they would always have to make such a choice w/o any data).

 

So giving the player more than just a short text is nec. here, maybe even a "auto-select for me if I am unsure" options?

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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Missions w/o choices always drop you in places you know nothing about, so I'm not sure there's increased trepidation on the player's part if given a choice where to start. Map authors providing multiple start points can certainly have the briefing explain the (dis)advantages of each point. That fleshes out the briefing and gives the player some info with which to make a decision.

 

I can't see authors providing more than 3-4 choices (otherwise it's too unwieldy, and players aren't likely to replay a mission more than a couple times anyway, if they do at all), so I don't see the added benefit of having a "pick for me" option. Besides, if a player plans to replay, that option is only useful the first time through, and of no benefit in replay, because of the possibility of the game randomly picking the same start point. From what I've read on the forum, the thought is that multiple start points increase the replayability of a mission, and players who want to start again at a new spot won't use that option.

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Missions w/o choices always drop you in places you know nothing about, so I'm not sure there's increased trepidation on the player's part if given a choice where to start.

 

My point was that in that case the player doesn't have to choose - it is choosen for him. But if he has to choose, he has to have enough information on what to choose.

 

It's like "Pick you class - A, B or C" compared to "Pick your class - Warrior, Wizard or WhizzingArrowShooter". The first is bad UI design, the second is ok (as the choices are usually known to the player with the consequences).

 

Its not so much a a point against the system, but that I should be used wisely.

 

I agree that the "autochoose" option is not useful for replay - but so are the other options in case the player doesn't replay, or the one he already tried. So not sure about this one (but if pushcomes to shove, no autochoose and better descriptions would be my choice)

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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How about a map "zone selection"? It would give a little bit of info, and wouldn't rely on a immersion breaking text (breaking because, me the player doesn't know anything that thief the character is saying. I can enter the chute? Cool i guess. What chute?).

 

I always liked how in thief Official missions the maps were incomplete, guesses and just plain wrong. This could be incorporated with such a map (even on a campaing).

 

Find out the alternate entrance? The mysterious, ???/blank zone on the next map would allow/show selection as the secret passage entrance, instead of the front entrance flanked by the guard towers, or the eagles nest, with the cannon room.

 

Art wise it's harder though, but even a normal person can make a simple sketched map-in-a-napkin.

 

It would probably be hard to allow arbitrary hot-zones selection though (programmatically). Maybe there is a vector library somewhere that you can check for a closed polygon and check for mouse "insideness" you can use in Darkradiant though.

 

Or maybe just use rectangles, and specify that the overlay must be a image (that can show whatever form inside the rectangle it wants, other colors/more detailed image.

 

 

 

I'm not sure. You'd want a usability engineer to ask for advice on this.

Edited by i30817
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Since the choice comes at the end of a briefing, the key purpose of which is give the player necessary information, I think we can safely assume that the briefing would give the player enough info to make an educated decision. If it doesn't, then it's a bad briefing, which has little or nothing to do with this new, creative feature.

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Missions will have to be designed to take advantage of this feature. Looking at TDM/T2 missions that brief and drop you somewhere, usually you already get to decide whether to take the easy way in, find some well/sewers entrance, try for a window on the second floor, or try your luck at entering through the front door like a boss. Having multiple start locations that you could just walk to isn't very useful, but if the mission is designed so that areas are inaccessible to each other to start with then you already have something that could be interesting and replayable. If the mission is massive enough you could see each start location having its own set of potential entrances and paths. You could also see players starting out in sewers, in a hot air balloon, maybe captured inside the building (choose your own adventuresque). This kind of design could encourage players to replay missions, if done well. It also raises some questions about whether or not 100% of a mission should be accessible at all. Should the player be able to get 100% of a mission's loot, all the keys and explore all the areas given the ability to have different starting locations? If the choice could be used to modify the max loot number this would help players who are used to looking for all the loot and secrets. And if they manage to bug themselves through/over a wall and get inaccessible loot, that just adds to the prestige! Alternatively, use the choice to kill items and close and bar certain doors, just as difficulty could. Or have harder and unique possible routes and guard patrols on each difficulty for a total of 9+ ways to replay (start x difficulty x other choices).

Edited by jaxa
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  • 3 weeks later...

(If anyone's still watching this thread ...)

 

I'm ready to check in this feature.

 

I'll be adding a section to the Briefing wiki page, and--following the precedent set in the "Button Controlled Animated Briefing" section--it will use a link to retrieve the updated gui file.

 

I can put the file up on mediafire, but should there also be a more official place to retrieve it from?

 

Thanks.

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I've added a section to the Briefing wiki:

 

http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Briefing#Controlling_Where_the_Player_Starts

 

Please read through it and see if it makes sense.

 

If you have access to SVN and want to experiment with this, revision 12489 contains the SDK support for Windows, in tdm_game01.pk4.

 

It will be officially supported in TDM 1.08.

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